A Life Well Lived

To Do List

I don’t know if you have a sense of déjà vu after the terrible shootings at the Navy Yard Monday. We have been through all this before as innocent lives are lost in a senseless slaughter. After all the tragic news of a deranged individual throwing his life away and those who suffered so much as a result of his actions, I thought we would do well to consider a life well lived, and that was the life of Mary Agnes Mullaney.

Here is what her family wrote about her:

Mary Agnes (known as “Pink”) entered eternal life on Sunday, September 1, 2013. Her spirit is carried on by her six children, 17 grandchildren, three surviving siblings in New Jersey, and an extended family of relations and friends from every walk of life. We were blessed to learn many valuable lessons from Pink during her 85 years, among them: Never throw away old pantyhose. Use the old ones to tie gutters, child-proof cabinets, tie toilet flappers, or hang Christmas ornaments.

If a possum takes up residence in your shed, grab a barbecue brush to coax him out. If he doesn’t leave, brush him for twenty minutes and let him stay.

Let a dog (or two or three) share your bed. Say your prayers while you walk them.

Go to church with a chicken sandwich in your purse. Give the sandwich to a homeless person after the service.

Go to a nursing home and kiss everyone. When you learn someone’s name, ask them to share their story. Invite new friends to Thanksgiving dinner. If they are from another country and you have trouble understanding them, learn to “listen with an accent.”

Never say mean things about anybody; they are poor souls who need our prayers, bless their hearts.

Put picky-eating children in the box at the bottom of the laundry chute, tell them they are hungry lions in a cage, and feed them veggies through the slats.

Correspond with the imprisoned and have lunch with the cognitively challenged.

Do the Jumble every morning.

Keep the car keys under the front seat so they don’t get lost.

Make the car dance by lightly tapping the brakes to the beat of songs on the radio.

Offer rides to people carrying a big load or caught in the rain or summer heat.

Help anyone struggling to get their kids into a car or shopping cart or across a parking lot.

Give to every charity that asks. Choose to believe the best about what they do with your money, no matter what your children say they discovered online.

Take magazines you’ve already read to your doctors’ office for others to enjoy. Do not tear off the mailing label. As Pink said, “If someone wants to contact me, that would be nice.”

In her lifetime, Pink made contact time after time. Those who’ve taken her lessons to heart will continue to ensure that a cold drink will be left for the overheated garbage collector and mail carrier, every baby will be kissed, every nursing home resident will be visited, the hungry will have a sandwich, the guest will have a warm bed and soft nightlight, and an encroaching possum will know the soothing sensation of a barbecue brush upon its back.

Above all, Pink wrote — to everyone, about everything. You may read this and recall a letter from her that touched your heart, tickled your funny bone, or maybe made you say “huh?”

She is survived by her children and grandchildren whose photos she would share with prospective friends in the checkout line, siblings, and many in-laws, nieces, nephews, friends and family too numerous to list but not forgotten.

Pink is reunited with her husband and favorite dance and political debate partner, Dr. Gerald L. Mullaney, and is predeceased by six siblings.

A life well lived indeed.

 

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